Thursday, November 15, 2018

Reasons to Praise God in November--Danielle's Update

God has been doing some wonderful things at Collin and throughout our ministry, so I want to highlight for you the things I'm thankful for lately!

Thursday Nights
We have been in a sermon series these past two months called "Reclaiming the Narrative" where we talk about current hot topics in light of the Biblical story. We contrast the world's narrative on friendship, identity, romance, masculinity, and sexuality with God's narrative. I recently got to preach on Reclaiming the Narrative of Femininity. Our students have responded so well to the series. We have also been pushing for Biblical literacy among our students, and last Thursday one of our students stood up and recited a difficult passage of scripture from memory. It blew us all away, and definitely convicted me in my lack of knowledge of the Scripture.

My FOJ Study
I have been studying the Bible with a student who grew up in church but strayed away because of the church's response to her sexuality. She is openly gay and has been wary to be part of a Christian community. She is also a victim of domestic abuse and a host of other difficult life circumstances. She has been faithfully meeting with me once a week to talk about Jesus and look at the Scripture. Last week when Pedro preached on sexuality, I was surprised and encouraged to see that she actually stayed to listen. She told me later that she thought about walking out but figured she should hear him out. After the sermon, she was afraid that people would no longer want to talk to her or be her friend; instead, so many people came up to her and asked how she was doing and feeling about it all. She said she was so surprised to see how much love people showed her, instead of condemnation. Because of this, she is interested in learning more about Jesus and sticking around for a bit. Praise God!

Our Corefa Team
I am so proud of our leaders this year. They have had some tough ministry challenges and their generation is heavily influenced by relativism. It can be hard to stand for the Gospel on campus these days. Our leaders have faithfully ministered to their peers while enduring their own personal hardships, and have done it well. I am so thankful to be part of their journey as disciples and leaders for Christ.

Finally, I'm thankful for all of you! You have consistently supported our ministry on the campus and have selflessly poured out your financial resources. Students lives are being changed because of you.

Here is our November student testimony from a FOCUS alum:

"I studied Music Ed at UNT with the dream of becoming a percussion instructor. I had been a Christian for as long as I could remember, but upon entering college I was closed-off to anything that would cost me time or energy apart from my career. I believed that putting up blinders and pursuing my degree was more important than serving a community.

I joined a Core and began studying the Bible with a close mentor. Through these friendships my idols of success, control, and pride were laid bare. I was heartbroken to see that although I professed Jesus as LORD, my life as a Christian hardly reflected that same self-sacrificial love. I became a corefa in my 2nd year and learned that serving others isn’t something tacked onto our calling; it IS our calling.
This was revelatory for me.

Fast forward to 2016 as God led me into a career teaching elementary school. Every day I’m given the opportunity to die to myself and serve the emotional, relational, and academic needs of my students. God used my time spent in FOCUS to prepare me for a season I would have never seen coming. I’m so thankful for God bringing me closer to his heart through the ministry at UNT. I now volunteer as a
bivocational minister at SMU. God is so good!"

Kurt Doty
FOCUS Alumnus
Music Education

Much love and thanks for reading!